1

harm

play
noun \ ˈhärm \

Definition of harm

1 :physical or mental damage :injury
  • the amount of harm sustained by the boat during the storm
2 :mischief, hurt
  • I meant you no harm.

Examples of harm in a Sentence

  1. They threatened him with bodily harm.

  2. The scandal has done irreparable harm to his reputation.

  3. She'll do anything to protect her children from harm.

  4. They have suffered serious physical harm.

  5. These new regulations could cause lasting harm to small businesses.

Recent Examples of harm from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'harm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of harm

Middle English, from Old English hearm; akin to Old High German harm injury, Old Church Slavonic sramŭ shame


2

harm

verb

Definition of harm

transitive verb
:to damage or injure physically or mentally :to cause harm (see 1harm) to
  • No animals were harmed in the making of the film.
  • the national interest … was gravely harmed by this attack
  • —Elmer Davis

harmer

noun

Examples of harm in a Sentence

  1. He would never intentionally harm his children.

  2. chemicals that could harm the environment

  3. The scandal has seriously harmed his reputation.

Recent Examples of harm from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'harm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Origin and Etymology of harm

see 1harm

Synonym Discussion of harm

injure, harm, hurt, damage, impair, mar mean to affect injuriously. injure implies the inflicting of anything detrimental to one's looks, comfort, health, or success.
    • badly injured in an accident
harm often stresses the inflicting of pain, suffering, or loss.
    • careful not to harm the animals
hurt implies inflicting a wound to the body or to the feelings.
    • hurt by their callous remarks
damage suggests injury that lowers value or impairs usefulness.
    • a table damaged in shipping
impair suggests a making less complete or efficient by deterioration or diminution.
    • years of smoking had impaired his health
mar applies to injury that spoils perfection (as of a surface) or causes disfigurement.
    • the text is marred by many typos


HARM Defined for English Language Learners

harm

play
noun

Definition of harm for English Language Learners

  • : physical or mental damage or injury : something that causes someone or something to be hurt, broken, made less valuable or successful, etc.


harm

verb

Definition of harm for English Language Learners

  • : to cause hurt, injury, or damage to (someone or something) : to cause harm to (someone or something)


HARM Defined for Kids

1

harm

play
noun \ ˈhärm \

Definition of harm for Students

:physical or mental damage :injury
  • The storm did little harm to the sheltered beach.

Synonym Discussion of harm

harm, injury, and damage mean an act that causes loss or pain. harm can be used of anything that causes suffering or loss.
    • The frost did great harm to the crops.
injury is likely to be used of something that has as a result the loss of health or success.
    • She suffered an injury to the eyes.
damage stresses the idea of loss (as of value or fitness).
    • The fire caused much damage to the furniture.

2

harm

verb

Definition of harm for Students

harmed; harming
:to cause hurt, injury, or damage to
  • Too much sun can harm your skin.

Law Dictionary

harm

noun

legal Definition of harm

:loss of or damage to a person's right, property, or physical or mental well-being :injury

harm

transitive verb


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